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Archive for February, 2008

Sick & thinner

I’m home sick with an annoying cough/cold thing I probably got from Z. who had it last weekend. Feeling just well enough to be bored but I’m not feeling well enough to really do too much. I’m staying home from the Wellness Community these next few days so I don’t expose anyone there to my germs, so I’m missing art class and 2 groups. I cancelled my acupuncture appt. this morning, which kind of irked my acupuncturist a bit as he thought it was like canceling an appt. with your dr. because you’re sick, but I mostly didn’t want drive 35+ minutes each way when I wasn’t feeling well and I see him for my back, not colds (yeah, yeah, whatever). Got up early for the cleaning person who said she’d be here at 8:30am (when will I ever learn?) and is still not here at 2pm (but she’s on her way!)

But the good news is (drumroll please) that because of the changes in my diet I’ve made for my prediabetes and Megace induced blood sugar rises I have lost 13 pounds! It’s so damn cold here that I’m wearing so many layers of clothes that it’s not like anyone can tell, but I know they are gone! I now weigh a bit less than I did before being diagnosed with the recurrence over a year ago. I feel much better, less puffy, able to move better, etc. Since my original endo cancer diagnosis in 2004 I have slowly but steadily gained weight (50 pounds all told) with very little losing (a few pounds a few times) which has been pretty darn depressing. So even though the Megace is supposed to increase ones appetite and cause weight gain I’ve managed to lose in spite of it (not eating much helps I guess!) My fasting blood sugars are still above normal (in the prediabetic range, usually between 100 and 115) but I’m okay with that for now.

A friend said that my medical oncologist probably wouldn’t be happy with my weight loss (they are usually the only drs. who like fat patients), but I told her I still have plenty of reserves, so I don’t think it will be a problem 🙂

The other nice side benefit is my blood pressure is great (at least at home, I haven’t had it taken at the drs. office for a while)! 

The thing about losing weight for me is that it’s a sign of hope. I wouldn’t bother doing all this if I were going to die tomorrow, so regardless of what is actually happening in my body (I won’t know till after my scan on March 13th) I am at least feeling like there is good enough hope to put myself through all this. One of the reasons I gained all that weight in the first place was chipping away at hope (which usually reared it’s ugly head in the evening) and the whole “what the hell I may as well eat cake” attitude, knowing all along that I was risking my health in the process. Kind of a passive aggressive thing I think.

But right now the sun is shining and my house is being cleaned (and not by me!) and I’ve actually accomplished something (by writing this blog post), so even if I’m sick and I can’t eat cake, my world is a pretty good place today.

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Painting still in progress

This was taken at the end of my class this morning. It’s not done yet but it’s getting there. Today I felt like I might actually finish it some day. I love how when you work on one thing in the painting, it affects all the other things. I spent most of my time today working on the shell and the purple backdrop. It’s a little hard to see in this cell phone photo but I was working on the folds of drapery behind the shell, my goal is to make it look like the drapery is folded on the table itself, not a part of the vertical cloth.

I’ve been feeling under the weather all day, drippy thing in back of my throat causing me to cough which is giving me a headache. I feel spacey and tired too. At points I would sit back and look at my painting and everything became a blur, but I got through it thanks to my wonderful teacher Mindy who always seems to know the right thing to say to help me move forward. No way could I do this on my own at home, I would get stuck constantly, I still need the voice of a more experienced painter to help keep me going.

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Where I’m from by Z.

I’m from the bunch of green grass
And the old tree fort
I’m from cheese pizza & French fries
To hot dogs on the black grill
I’m from Dodger to Peaca feathers
I’m from “Do your homework”
To “Clean your room”
I’m from the blue box
Under the bed
And the memories in it

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Now the kidneys

So apparently one of my kidney function tests from my blood work was low. As if I need more problems. I’m talking with my internist about how to handle this now, but it seems like going on a particular blood pressure medication (an ACE inhibitor which helps not only lower the bp but also helps protect the kidneys) may be the answer (this is the kind of bp med that can cause a dry cough, I have a friend who coughed so badly on this type of med that we could barely have a phone conversation). I need two low readings to be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. I am wondering if the radiation spill over to my kidneys and the high doses of ibuprofen over the last year for my back pain might be contributing to this. Also previous pelvic radiation and chemotherapy (I checked over some older blood labs done during my initial endo cancer treatment and while my kidney levels were normal, they were on the very low end of normal- but they didn’t do this particular kidney function test). High blood pressure certainly is a contributor but it hasn’t been high for that long that it seems to me I’d have kidney damage already. Sigh, I’m just glad I found a great internist who treats me like a respectful partner in my health care decisions to help me through all this crap.

Meanwhile my dietary changes are helping, my blood sugar reading this morning was 108, still above normal, but not diabetic. In fact for the last week the readings have been in the teens. I’ve lost 6 1/2 pounds and my blood pressure is coming down also (in normal ranges first thing in the morning at least). I’m doing well with eating as long as I am home, I don’t know what I will do when I have to eat out. It’s very hard to find food out that is both low sodium and low glycemic, even at a place like Whole Foods. I’m going to stop there to pick up lunch tomorrow between my acupuncture appt. and Open Studio. I’ll probably stick with the salad bar and plain olive oil and vinegar (then I just have to deal with my salivary gland swelling up). A. and I had an opportunity to go out for a relatively quick dinner on Friday night as Z. had a late playdate but I couldn’t think of one appropriate restaurant to eat at so we stayed home and made dinner instead (Southwestern Turkey burgers w/o buns from EatingWell.com, also without the pickled onions. I didn’t get to A. in time and he put the whole salt amount in, I’ve asked him to at least half the salt amount in anything he makes from now on).

It’s always amazing to me when I stop eating sugar (and white flour, which I normally don’t eat except when I’m eating sugar, like in a cookie or something like that) how quickly my craving for it goes away. My dessert last night was a half a honeybell (these wonderful oranges from Florida my mom sends us every year) and a triangle of bittersweet chocolate (from those little round tins that Trader Joe’s sells, since I really prefer the creamy mouth feel of milk chocolate I like this particular one as it’s has a “creamy” feel while having a high cocoa content). Some nights I have a Kozy Shack sugar free pudding. Considering how important dessert was to me just a few weeks ago this is pretty remarkable.

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